Five years ago, the world changed forever after the World Trade Center attacks and the web changed with it. I remember that day vividly.

The drama that unfolded in the following hours would prove to be quite a performance test for news servers on the web. The online news providers immediately went down due to the enormous amount of users desperately trying to get information. The previously rich start pages were soon replaced by stripped-down versions with minimum content and no images that could drain precious bandwidth.

Ground Zero Ground Zero in New York 2002, as I saw it from a helicopter.

Remember what Google looked like on that day? As many other sites, it was down to barebone HTML. The sites adopted after a while and offered a slimmer interface with less images to download, but people had already started searching for answers in other places.

The crippled state of the web on that fatal day, when the large news sites were initially down due to unprecedented traffic, forced many of the survivors and relatives turn to online journals to share their answers, experiences and grief with people all across the world. These were the early blogs before that name was even invented.

Ground Zero Ground Zero in New York 2002.

Some years later, I watched the television broadcasts from a room in San Francisco when hurricane Katrina hit New Orleans. Large companies had laughed at blogs for years, saying they were unreliable and of no importance as news sources.

The previously taunted suddenly faced redemption as blog entries and Flickr photos were referred to and displayed world-wide during live broadcasts on CNN, actually adding more value than any distance shots could possibly offer.

It’s sad that it takes cataclysmic events to make the shift, but today the blogosphere is blooming like never before.


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